CLAYTON — Runners zipped through the streets downtown March 2, some in pairs, some solo, and some parents trying to keep up with their kids, for the annual Run for the Rockets 5K hosted by the Cooper Elementary School Parent and Teachers Association.
“I couldn’t keep up with her,” Tammy King joked, when she crossed the finish line Saturday. Though she’d started the race with 8-year-old daughter Kaitlynn Brand, the two finished separately.
It was the first year for both running the race and they wanted to support the school. Brand is a third grade student at Cooper Elementary.
“I wanted to try it out,” said Brand. She didn’t want to do the kids race, she said. She was up for a challenge.
Father-son pair Danny Ellis and Alex Ellis have run races together before and always stick together.
“He ran a mile and a 1/2 race before and it wasn’t long enough for him,” said father Danny Ellis. What makes that pair unique is that Alex is six years old.
“He started when he was four,” said Ellis. “This was his fourth race.”
The race began at 9 a.m. and started out with a fun run for kids, followed by the run/walk at 9:30 a.m. The race route winded through Michner Hills subdivision, up Front Street and back to Fayetteville Street.
The PTA plans to use the money they earned to improve the educational experience of their students through the purchases of smart boards and other educational tools.
Since it is a Title One School, Cooper doesn’t have the same financial means coming into the PTA that some of the other local schools do.
The PTA hoped to raise $10,000 from the race.
Though the objective of the race was to raise funds for the school, that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be some serious runners on the course, out to set some impressive times.
Running through the finish line first was Alex Roy, 14, a freshman on the track team at Clayton High School. He crossed the finish line in 19:48.. His pace for each mile was 6:23. Finishing second was 24-year-old Christopher Wright, at 20:19 and a pace of 6:33 per mile. Spencer Husen, 15, of Hillsborough finished third at 20: 40, a 6:39 pace.
The first place woman’s finisher was Karen Gardner, 53, of Keedysville, who finished in 24 minutes and 56 seconds, with a pace of 8 minutes and 2 seconds per mile. Second place female was Lisa Book, 42, of Lillington, at 25:47, with a pace of 8:18. Third place was Nicole Griffith, of Goldsboro, at 25:56, with a pace of 8:21.